1 John 3:11-12 ESV
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”
Adam and Eve, the first man and woman on the earth, had a son named Cain. After him came his brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a worker of the ground. Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, but Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.
“The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.’” Genesis 4:6-7 ESV
Cain then spoke to his brother Abel, and when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord had a back and forth conversation with Cain about what he just did. And God judged Cain for his evil deed. And then we read here in 1st John that Cain was of the evil one, and so he killed his brother because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s deeds were righteous.
And this did not end with Cain and Abel. Human nature is evil. The flesh nature is jealous of others who have what it does not have. The flesh nature is resentful of those who are living righteously and who are approved by God, because the flesh nature is not approved by God. And the flesh nature is opposed to all that is righteous and holy and upright. For, the flesh is at war with the Spirit, and the Spirit is at war with the flesh (Gal 5:17).
So, if we are to not be like Cain, this isn’t just about not murdering our brother. We should not be of the evil one. We should not be living in sin and then end up hating and being resentful of those who are living righteously. Sin should not be crouching at our door because we should not be giving sin any sway in our lives. But we should be conquering sin in the power of God, saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return (Tit 2:11-14).
1 John 3:13-15 ESV
“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Do Not Be Surprised
“The world” in this instance is the people of the world who are given over to the desires of the flesh and who are not of the Spirit of God. They will not embrace us as their own if we are living righteously as Abel was, and if we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if we are living holy lives separate (unlike, different) from the world, and if we are sharing the gospel as Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught it.
They may speak harshly against us, condemning us for what we say, and for what we refuse to participate in. They may try to sway us to not follow what the Scriptures teach but to adopt the ways of this sinful world so that we are more like everyone else and so that we don’t stand out as different. They may attack our character and call us names and accuse us falsely of being self-righteous or hateful or judgmental or of being negative, too.
Some of them may take it further and will try to discredit us via false accusations, or they will try to trip us up with our words, or they will try to bait us into getting into an argument with them, i.e. they will do the kinds of things that were done to Jesus. And you know what? Who were Jesus’ strongest and most persistent persecutors? They were the rulers and the teachers of the Scriptures in the Temple of God.
So, don’t be surprised if worldly and fleshly professers of faith in Jesus Christ are your greatest opponents and persecutors, too, and not the people who make no profession of faith in Jesus. For, professers of Christ know the way of righteousness. So, if they are living sinful lifestyles in direct opposition to God and to his commands, and if they are lying about it, they are going to be offended by your walk of faith and your relationship with the Lord.
And they may see you as a threat to their lies and to their chosen lifestyles because they know you believe that what they are doing is evil, and that it is against the Lord, whether you say it or not, or whether you know what they are doing or not. Your walk of faith is going to be an offense to them because they know that what they are doing is wrong. But especially if you are sharing the truth of the gospel, don’t be surprised if those who claim to be your brothers and sisters in the Lord are your strongest opposition.
Love One Another
The antidote to hate is love. But this is not speaking of human love which is based in emotions and feelings and experiences and circumstances. This love is not based in others first loving us or them not hating us or them not mistreating us, either. For we are to love even our enemies. We are to pray for them, do good to them, and do and say to and for them what will be wholesome and spiritually and morally beneficial for them, for their welfare.
This love comes from God who is love. So, this love is unselfish, self-sacrificial, morally pure, upright, godly, sincere, honest, trustworthy, unadulterated, kind, thoughtful, and righteous. This love is more concerned with the legitimate needs of others than it is with whether or not we are loved in return. We love even when we are not loved in return, and even when we are hated and mistreated, rejected, and persecuted in return.
This love will speak the truth in love to others even knowing full well that it is going to be rejected, hated, and mistreated in return, and even falsely accused and slandered. And that is because this love comes from God who is love, and the way he loved us was not just to die for us on that cross, but he spoke the truth into our hearts, and he still does through his written word and through the Holy Spirit who is living within those who are His.
And the truth that Jesus spoke was foundationally that if we want to be one of his followers, to be saved from our sins, and to have the hope of eternal life with him, then we must be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, free from slavery to sin, and free now to walk in holiness, righteousness, moral purity, uprightness, and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands, in His Power!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”